August is normally a great month for me. It’s my birthday month, I love my birthday so therefor I love august. But unlike every other August I have experienced in my 23 years of life, this one was different. This one kicked me and kicked me again and again. I’ll lay it all out for you…
The first week of August was by far the most terrifying. Hattie randomly did a little shake one Friday which I noted as something kids do, nothing serious. Only lasted a matter of seconds and she went back about her usual toddler business. Then two days after she did the exact same thing but this time hit her head a few times after it and then went about her usual thing. Me being a mother went into complete meltdown, panicked and rung my doctors surgery to which they told me to bring her down straight away and she’ll be seen. On my way down I kept thinking that I was being ridiculous because Hattie was once again completely normal but instead of being reassured that I was just overreacting and the doctor actually told me that they think she might be having seizures. The doctor advised me to try and catch her little episode on video so when she sees the neurologist it would be easier for him to identify if in fact she is having a seizure. I went into complete meltdown, cried all night and was heartbroken. Every sinister thought popped into my head even when I tried my hardest to push it out. Two days later she had done it a few times so I rung and booked another doctors appointment and was thankfully seen that day. The doctor told me that it does indeed sound like a seizure but that it was completely normal for children to have them at a young age and they normally grow out of it by seven. He said that although scary for us parents, its basically harmless to the children. I left feeling like a weight had been lifted and on I went about my normal business of making a one day event, my birthday, into a weekend thing and everything seemed to be getting much better.
Well that was until the 10th of August. A few months previous to this I had gone to see my doctor about having a mole on my back removed. It had been there for as long as I could remember but it was always something I wanted gone. It was something that worried myself and my mum for years so I finally did it and went to see if my doctor could refer me. I had a letter back within a week saying that I’d have an appointment anytime from then up to 26 weeks. For some reason my mother wasn’t having any of that so she told me to go private and that she’d pay. So the time had come for me to see the dermatologist about my mole. It was only supposed to be a consultation. There was a few questions before he looked at it, things like is it sore, does it bleed, causing you any pain at all and when my answer was no to every single one you could see this puzzled look on his face as he tried to figure out why the hell I was there. So off I went, sat on the bed, tshirt pulled up like a scarf around my neck, stomach rolls on show and that was when he said “yes, there are some changes and it needs to come off” so I had it off that day at 5pm to which he sent me on my way and said results should be back in a week, please try not to worry. So of course I spent the whole week crying, hardly eating, ringing him constantly just in case he had the results and couldn’t get through.
On the 17th of August at 2:30pm my Doctor rung me. He told me that my results were back and asked if I could get a pen and paper to jot a few things down while he spoke to me. And right there, I knew something wasn’t right.
“The results are back and its turned out to be Melanoma.” Those few words hit the wind out of me, my legs turned to jelly and my hands were shaking uncontrollably. He told me that although it was cancer that its actually good news. Because we caught it so early, the earliest it could of been caught, it was all gone. He had taken every last bit of it away. He said that they measure the cancer by the Murlow thickness and that mine was only 0.26mil which apparently is the best news you could want with this situation. It means that I wouldn’t need any scans, blood tests, chemo or anything that usually comes with this terrifying word. All I would need is the 1cm cut off from the margin around my scar and have regular check ups with him. So yesterday I went, had my margin removed, spoke to him a bit more about it and found out that it is extremely unlikely that it’ll ever come back and he described it as more of an inconvenience than a worry. He checked all my moles and my glands yesterday and everything is as it should be. I will need to go back every three months to be checked over for the next three years but apart from that, life goes on as usual.
The reason I am writing this in a blog post is because partly this is how I process things, which is what I have to do now. I have to process that at 23 I had melanoma and if I had left it, my outcome could of been terrible. But I am also sharing this to raise some form of awareness. My mole wasn’t sore, wasn’t bleeding, wasn’t causing any discomfort. I wasn’t stupid in the sun, always wore suntan lotion and I’ve never used a sunbed. So if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. So to whoever is reading this, please look after your body. You only have one life so do everything you possibly can to ensure its a long and happy one.
Checking your skin is just as important as checking your breasts, having a smear and for you boys, the importance is just the same.
Cancer doesn’t having a type. It chooses who it likes, it chose me and I am 23, relatively healthy with a toddler to look after so try and not only prevent it but also catch it as early as possible. Just be vigilant with your bodies and if something doesn’t seem right, don’t push it at the back of your minds, book that doctors appointment and be seen, its your life that you’re risking.